What could be causing my (non-)starting issues? Occasionally (once every two weeks or so) when the keys are inserted and turned to the start position, nothing happens. No noise, no dome lights dimming if they're already on, nothing. The dash lights come on, as well as any accessories (radio, blower, etc.), but nothing to indicate that it's trying to start. Sometimes I can just take the keys out, put them back in, and then it starts normally, but sometimes it will take several minutes of trying before The starter actually engages and then the engine will start right up (no whining or sputtering, just a normal start).

The battery is less than a year old. The van has about 90k miles.

It's unlike any electrical problem I've had other vehicles (alternator/battery/solenoid/starter issues) -- in those the car would either try and fail to start or wouldn't start at all because it was totally drained of battery power.

  • I have the same issue with my 04 sedona. I am stuck now with it. I got it to start but stupid me shut itboff again.
    – user3790
    Commented Oct 5, 2013 at 16:34
  • This same failure just occurred today with my 2006 Sedona. We used this site, and took the advice to tap the relays in the fuse box to the lower left of the steering wheel. Started right up. Thanks for the tips. Now to see what will be the permanent fix.
    – user10793
    Commented Jun 8, 2015 at 23:47

5 Answers 5


That sounds like an immobiliser problem to me. What happens if you get out, lock, then unlock the van, then try again?

Another possible problem is a loose wire between the ignition switch and the solenoid, but in that case I'd expect it to need physical intervention before it would work again (i.e. knocking or wiggling the wire to remake contact)

  • It just happened again last night. I tried your get out / lock / unlock suggestion and it worked. What kind of immobiliser problem does that point to? Commented Nov 15, 2011 at 23:08

Or could be a bad ignition switch.


There is a strong possibility there is an issue in the interior fuse box which is also the body module. There is a problem often seen with the burglar alarm relay (built into the box/module, not replaceable). This relay doesn't sound the alarm, but disables the car. Locking and unlocking the car making it work seems to confirm it. You can also try to start while knocking on the fuse box (lower left of dash) to try and confirm.


The following was suggested by someone else on another website and worked for me!! After being towed several times, now I just pull the relay out and plug it back in. Takes only a minute or two and I have done it about 10 times now.

When the vehicle doesn't start, I simply go to the fuse panel under the steering wheel and remove the relay labeled "alternator." I then plug it back in (a hard reset) and the car starts.

  • I would consider replacing that relay, and see if that improves your situation.
    – kmarsh
    Commented Jan 7, 2016 at 14:52

In case of erratic no start, try this as we had the same problem. Inside electricals worked, we had horn, headlights, wipers, radio, etc. But starter just clicked as though there was dirty terminal ends or possible dead cell in battery. Jumping with another vehicle did not make any difference. Long story short. Battery was fine and starter bench tested perfect.

The engine to vehicle body strap/wire/cable looked good but where it attaches to the body is painted from the factory. Scrape the paint and primer off down to bare metal and reinstall, problem solved. Remember the running gear is mounted on rubber mounts and the starter draws many more amps than lights, etc. Good grounds are extremely important to make things work proper especially a starter. Cured our intermittent problem fast and no parts required, just some hard knocks trouble shooting and labor.

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